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Wednesday, August 02, 2006


Nationals Win, Today's game starts at 3:35 EST

Nationals win second straight, and second since Soriano and team informed Soriano not traded. Hernandez pitched 7 solid innings, giving up just 1 run, 1 walk and 6 hits, while striking out 3 and picking up his ninth win of the season while facing 27 batters (93 pitches, 57 strikes). Bowie continued to impress in relief and Cordero picked up his 19 save. Schneider surprisingly went 2 for four, raising his hitting average up to .229. Castro entered the game and pinch ran for Ward, who had pinch hit for Hernandez in the 8th. Castro would score. Castro has now appeared in several games since being promoted, but mostly as a pinch runner. He has had the chance to bat just twice.

How were the runs scored? Washington pulled out to an early lead when they scored 1 run in the third inning. Schneider lead off in his first at-bat in the game with a single. Pitcher Cain balked, moving Schneider to second. Hernandez grounded out, but Schneider moved to third on the out. Soriano then hit a sac fly and Schneider ran home. With 2 outs, Lopez tripled, but then Zimmerman struck out for the third out of the inning. End of 3: Nationals up 1-0.

The score would remain 1-0 until the sixth inning when the Nationals added an another run in the top of the sixth. They will need that run, because the Giants finally got on the board in the bottom of the sixth with 1 run. Lopez walked to start off the sixth inning. Zimmerman walked, Lopez moved to third. Johnson hit into a double play, but while the Giants were throwing the ball around, Lopez scored. Score end of half inning: 2-0 Nationals.

Hernandez pitched the sixth inning, and gave up a single to Vizquel, who lead off the inning. Vizquel then stole second, Sweeney out (fly out), Alou struck out. 2 out, runner on second. Durham singles, Vizquel runs home. Hernandez gets Finley to hit into a fielder's choice situation. End of inning score: 2-1 Nationals.

The Giants were done offensively, but the Nationals added two more runs in the 8th inning when Zimmerman doubled, allowing Castro and Lopez to score.

Washington Post recap:
Livan Hernandez used to do this all the time. He pitched seven innings every time out, baffled batters with his ridiculously slow curveball, shrugged his shoulders as he walked off the mound, as if to say, "Hit that!"

Washington Times recap:
He was available to anyone willing to take him - and his contract - on. . . . the portly right-hander got his wish and remained with the Nationals . . . perhaps his best seven innings of baseball all season.

AP recap of the game (posted on WTOP website).
The San Francisco Giants have gone from having a half-game lead in the division and a season-best five-game winning streak to their worst skid in 10 years _ all in a span of 11 days.

Nationals.com recap.

THE PRESS DEMOCRAT article about the Giants skid "Giants make it 9 losses in a row".

Just over a decade and four playoff appearances later, the Giants have come full circle, losing their ninth consecutive game, 4-1, to the Washington Nationals before a disgruntled crowd of 37,258 at AT&T Park.

Inside Bay Area.com article "Woes mushroom on Giants"
The Giants made a sunny announcement from the "all is well" school of public relations Tuesday, putting out a release that they surpassed 3 million in ticket sales for the seventh straight season.

Then they gave their fans another reason to check the refund policy.

Roster Moves:
Robert Fick placed on the DL (left rib cartilage separation; expected out 3 to 4 weeks according to the Times) and 6'4" thirty-year-old catcher Brandon Harper of AAA New Orleans promoted.

Harper was hitting .292 in 43 games in New Orleans (120 AB; though his college says that he was batting .276 with 1 home-run in 39 games, the other stats come from the New Orleans team stats page). He had 10 doubles, 2 home-runs, 11 RBI, 15 walks to 21 strike-outs, 3 stolen bases to 1 CS, and had an OBP of .394, a slugging percentage of .425 and an OPS of .819. He played 2 games at 1B, 2 in the OF and 34 games at catcher in New Orleans. He had a total of 2 errors, though it does not mention where those errors occurred.

Harper attended Dallas Baptist University and was drafted in the fourth round by the Florida Marlins in 1997. He is originally from Odessa Texas. According to the Dallas Baptist University website, Harper was NAIA Second Team as a catcher in 1997.

According to The Baseball Cube (see why all this might not be correct, later): Harper has played 8 years in the minors (not including this year), and has appeared in 610 games in the minors. He has a career (not including this season) minor league batting average of .244, with an OBP of .324, and a slugging percentage of .358 (OPS of .682). 232 strike-outs to 223 walks. 11 stolen bases to 8 caught stealing. 40 home-runs, 262 RBI, 5 triples, and 99 doubles. The Baseball Cube website has Harper playing with the Tigers in 2005 for 3 games, the Nationals website has no mention of a MLB debut having occurred yet (and no stats for this year, or any year, though the Baseball Cube site has Harper down for playing 8 games this year with the Nationals). Baseball Reference has no record of Harper. And the Minor League Baseball website only has Harper's stats at New Orleans (stats match up with New Orleans website). So, is the Baseball Cube information usable?

Washington Times article on the revolving door at RFK (roster and injuries - "name tags" needed).
For those keeping track, Harper will become the 50th player used by the Nationals this season, tops in the major leagues. They have promoted an astounding 24 players from either New Orleans or Class AA Harrisburg since Opening Day, 16 of them pitchers.

Nationals promoted Harper -- a 30-year-old who has never played in the big leagues before.
- guess can't trust Baseball Cube stats then.

Armas (7-6, 4.79) vs. Schmidt (7-7, 3.18)

Jason Schmidt had a great May and June, but has otherwise struggled this year (almost 5 ERA in April and July). Schmidt is currently 5-1, with an ERA of 2.77 at home (11 GS). He is also better, this year, in day games (7-4, 2.71 ERA in 13 GS). After the All-Star game, Schmidt is 1 for 2 in 3 games started, and has an ERA of 6.00.

Nationals have Thursday off, then some more late night games. Friday & Saturday: 10:05 pm EST, in San Diego. And then a "day" game on Sunday (4:05pm EST), before heading home on Monday (travel day). Marlins arrive Tuesday August 8th. San Diego is currently in first place in the NL West with a record of 55-51, and the Marlins are currently in third place with a record of 50-56.

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